The Cable and Wireless Platter

With the announcement of CWC's new strategy, the description below is superseded. However, it does explain what CWC were initially planning to provide with their old strategy - which supported Internet access solely through the TV set - and is worth keeping on display just in case there are further U-turns ...

The information to follow is not verified. However, it is important and the various accounts given to me more or less tally, so I've decided to run with it.

What do you get when you have your set-top box installed and pay your £10 a month over the normal cable television rental? Certainly not full Internet access! Currently in beta is the Cable and Wireless Platter, based on nouvelle cuisine, which contains five dishes:
  • An interactive programme guide;
  • Extra information (financial, weather ...) for which you may have to pay more;
  • A messaging service like a proto-ICQ;
  • An text-only email service;
  • Possibly selected Web sites broadcast one-way.
I am told that the return (upstream) path is a phone line; the set-top box will contain a 33.6 modem. The tariff will be one of CWC's own (UK-Call, LoCall or SmartCall) - in other words, the return path will be metered by time!

I also believe that there will be no local storage; everything will be held on a central server, presumably part of Cable and Wireless Internet. So the set-top box is a 'pure' Network Computer.

The set-top box will also have neither floppy disk nor serial port, so there will be no possibility of downloading files and transferring them to your PC.

In fact, the protocol used by the set-top box will be TCP/IP, but that's the only resemblance it will have to current Internet access with PCs and modems.

I am told that Cable and Wireless Homeworld is a taste of things to come, although the Platter is more limited ...
Text by Alastair Scott

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